Changing thought patterns

I’ve been working on this for years, how to change the negative tapes in my head that say:

I’ll never amount to anything.
If you’re so smart, why aren’t you more  ___________ 
What the fuck are you doing with your life?
I can’t do anything right.
I’m too disorganized to do anything the “right” way.
No one likes me.

And on and on and on and on. 

I know that these thought patterns are destructive, and they only feed depression.

I know the origin of most of them; they have the same voice in my head. 

I used to think it was completely programming I had as a child, but now I’m not so sure. Because C grew up with a LOT of positive reinforcement. I never said those things to her. And yet, somewhere around age 14/15, these started coming out of her mouth – her own internal programming brought these same words up, including body/beauty image issues.

Maybe there is a biological component to these thinking patterns.

But can we change them?

M recently accused me of being an optimist, which is pretty funny if you’ve only known me in the last ten years, but he knew me long ago, when I was very optimistic about everything. 

I did ask my friend sync if he thought I was an optimist. His response:

You are more so than you think.

You generally do think you can accomplish various things, although when push comes to shove you often need to be pushed and shoved.

You can make it RIGHT UP to an important point, then you kinda freak out about it and try to talk yourself into thinking you can’t do it.

I’ve been running that around in my mind for the last week or so, since the conversation. And he’s right. 
I still can’t believe that I totally choked on the finish line of my credential. 
I blurred out my name, but there it is, framed and hung on the wall.
After taking 7 years to finish my B.A., after an intense year of working and tutoring while taking grad school classes, after a horrendous semester of student teaching, including surgery in the middle of it (and only missing 4 days of teaching for it), I choked on the finish line. The list of what I had to do to complete the process was ONE freaking paper (and I had until June to do it), two of these stupid things called Teaching Performance Assessments (and the groundwork is all done), a CPR class (I used to teach it, for fuck’s sake). 
That’s it.
Everything else was done.
I was only doing about 5 hours of contract work a week, and a little tutoring between January and June.
I had time to work on it.
But I didn’t.
Self-sabotage at its best. I seem to be an expert in that.
I could have been actually teaching this year, instead of worried about how I’m going to pay the bills now that unemployment has run its course.
But I have been making a conscious effort to work on changing thought patterns ever since J called last May
Another imaginary intermaweb friend, Monday’s Child, posted on my recent happiness post about her step-mother’s philosophy:

Happiness is a decision.
She taught me that happiness isn’t something that is *caused* by anything. It’s a deliberate decision you make, moment by moment if necessary.

Which falls right in line with a wallpaper image I got from Goddess Leonie (yeah, I know I’m talking about her a lot – I get fixated on things, ok?)

At first, this was the only one I downloaded, but now I have all of them, plus a few pictures I thought were beautiful, and a couple of random things, like this mandala I colored a long time ago. They rotate as my desktop background every 15 minutes.

Last year at this time, if the computer was on, I would have always had a browser open and would not even see my wallpaper. But the longer the “Joy is an Option” poster was up, the more I closed the browser and just left the computer on. I usually set the laptop up on a shelf right across from my comfy chair [“nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”] and I now leave it open so when I glance over I see an inspiring message or just a pretty picture.

I really think that the Joy poster is at least partly responsible for finally flipping my mood around.

So, I am really getting into the affirmations this year. And I’ve even decided to go ahead and do a Vision Board. I’ve never actually done one before. I understand the psychology of it – it’s not really magick, per se, but it keeps certain things happening in your head to help you recognize and bring about your goals. I guess I just thought I was  . . . above? needing something like that. 

I bought this pretty (and cheap) poster board with clouds on it, and I’m ready to get started. . . 

As an aside – What sparked this post was a conversation on Facebook. I wanted to talk about how another of my internet friends today reposted one of my “inspirational” reposts on Facebook. When one of his friends said, “I did not expect this from you,” his response was that he was trying to make changes in his life, to wit, to become “less of a dick.” He also said, “I cannot explain how much better my attitude is about everything after just a few months of reprogramming.” If RJ can change his attitude about things, with a little “reprogramming,” maybe I can, too?

Returning to my true self?

I stepped away from being a Priestess/spiritual teacher many years ago because my life was messed up, and I didn’t feel like I had any business telling others how to heal their spiritual selves when mine was so broken. 

But what if. . .

What if it took me so long to heal because i stepped away?

What if walking away from my inner truth kept me from healing?

I know my archetype is Teacher.

This was confirmed for me when i began tutoring. That began to help me connect with my inner self, and began to turn my financial situation around. It also gave me the confidence to find work again, and helped me break the worst of the depression.

I don’t know if it was the aspect of helping someone else, or if it was the hanging out with teens that have energy to spare that helped me find energy to do what i needed to do at the time, after so long of being completely idle, withdrawn and depressed. But it did help me turn it around.

In 2012, C had expressed an interest in priestess training. But she isn’t really ready yet. I was willing, but she’s not putting in the work. She doesn’t yet understand that it takes work, time alone to reflect, intense discussion and practice. Of course, maybe I’m not supposed to be her teacher. Buddha’s wisdom says that when the student is ready the teacher will appear, and I have found that to be true throughout my life.

But beginning again. . . Reconnecting with my Priestess-self, my spiritual-self. . . .seems to have me returning to a different state of being. In part because of C and in part because of actually connecting with Goddess Leonie’s stuff instead of just ignoring it in my inbox.

I’ve mentioned that my spiritual roots are pretty fluffy-bunny-new-agey. I was one of those wanna be hippies that talked about love and light and everything being an opportunity to learn and healing and intuition guiding my every move. I believed in the ability to manifest things into my life with my will.

And I was able to. 

For example: I got the military assignments that I wanted, when I wanted them. 

Seriously, do you know how hard it is to get the Navy to move someone from Europe to the west coast? The assignment coordinator said it Could Not Be Done. He told me I would probably have to spend a couple years in Virginia before i could go back to San Diego. I said, “We’ll see, I will talk to you tomorrow,” and went to fill in my wish list.

When I went back, he looked through the assignments available to me and almost had kittens. 

There was an assignment in San Diego, only one. It required part of my skill set, a month’s worth of training in Virginia and reupping for a couple years, but it was there. One assignment on his list. It was exactly what I needed/wanted. He was stunned. That kind of thing happened more than once. I was able to manifest exactly what i needed usually right when I needed it.

And then I lost my faith (which I may or may not talk about at some point – I can pretty much pinpoint when it was) in myself, in the ability to manifest, in, well, everything, and I was no longer able to bring such miracles into my life. 

Not being able to bring what I needed into my life reinforced the negative thought patterns, deepened the depression and pushed the ability to manifest further away.

I became cynical, sarcastic, even more withdrawn, judgmental, angry, more depressed, isolated and completely self-flagellating.

Reconnecting with Teacher through tutoring helped start me back onto the right emotional track, but I had still built up a lot of negativity in my Lost Decade.

It’s not gone, and it will likely always be there now, but I’m being called back to be Priestess and/or spiritual teacher again.

There is a part of the spiritual journey that is about confronting and integrating your shadow-self into your being. Maybe I’m finally coming out the other side of that.

While I still don’t feel like I have any business telling people how to run their lives, maybe sharing my experiences can help someone.

There is no light without dark, a witch that cannot hex, cannot heal, and one cannot ignore the dark or push it away, it must be acknowledged and walked through, each in their own time.

The Incredible Year workbook – Part 1 – Affirmations

I’ve talked about Goddess Leonie’s Incredible Year Workbook before. I’m still not done working through it, but I thought I’d do a couple of posts about what I’m doing, how I’m incorporating it. (And it’s not to late to start now!)

Before I even start, I have to say a lot of this is touchy-feely-fluffy-bunny-new-agey. But my spiritual roots are touch-feely-fluffy-bunny-new-agey, and I feel I’ve strayed away from that. I think I’m looking at this as drawing me back in.

I have a document holder like the one pictured to the left where I’ve put the relevant goal sheets and calendar pages that I need to see and access often (I did not print the whole workbook, only the parts I need). I’ve also got a spiral notebook for the To Do lists.

First off, I like affirmations. At different times in my life, I’ve used them to varying degrees of success. I’ve put them on my mirror or refrigerator or front door do I could see them often. I’ve written them in the evenings to concentrate on a goal.
So, I really like that Goddess Leonie incorporates affirmations in a couple of different ways in this workbook.
There is a page with colorful, odd shaped bubbles to create your own affirmation You’re supposed to write them and then cut them out and put them where you’ll see them: in your purse, around the home, wherever. I have taped some to the report cover and the spiral notebook. I also intend to buy some stuff to laminate them so I can put them in other places. She starts you off with:


To that I’ve added:

My life is full of miracles

I accept people as they are

I am loved

I am creative

I am organized and disciplined

I am creating miracles of love, peace and prosperity everyday

I deserve to be happy

I am Love, I am Abundance, I am Joy 

 Ok, looking at that from a jaded point of view (or what some would call realistic), it all seems a little lofty, dreamy, escapist thinking. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were all true? Even better, wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could make it all true?

Later on in the book, she has another page called “My Magnificent Mottos”. To me, these also feel like affirmations. They are the “mottos” for the year, that you focus on to keep you going. She gives examples of ones she’s used and then you create your own. I’ve got:

Embrace Possibilities

Be Strong

Cultivate Kindness

Dreams can come true!

Practice being loving 

She has a calendar, too, and I like her pages that give you a focus for the month. However, I don’t like her actual calendar pages. I’m using something else for the calendars, a page I got from a “plan your blog” site (but I don’t remember which one).
I’ve only got 72 things on the 100 Things To Do in 2013 list, but completing the list is on the list, so at some point, I’ve got to think of more things.

More about this fantastic workbook in the next few days.